Bottle with Snake-Thread Decoration

Object Name: 
Bottle with Snake-Thread Decoration

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Object Name: 
Bottle with Snake-Thread Decoration
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 13.1 cm, Diam (max): 6.3 cm
On Display
Credit Line: 
Purchased in part with funds from the Arthur Rubloff Residuary Trust
Web Description: 
Roman "snake-thread" glasses are so-called because of their sinuous patterns of applied ornament, which sometimes include birds and animals, but more often consist of leaves or abstract motifs. Glass of this type may be completely colorless, or have a colorless body with colored decoration. Snake-thread glasses were produced in two parts of the Roman world: in the eastern provinces and in the northwest. The earliest examples date from the late second century A.D. and the latest were probably made around the year 300. Our new acquisition is a snake-thread bottle decorated with tendrils and ivy leaves on long, snakelike stems. Four leaves and stems surround the body of the bottle. Two are opaque white and two are light blue; all of them were impressed with a tool while the glass was still soft, creating the corrugated surface that is typical of snake-thread decoration. Between each pair of leaves are tendrils with spiral ends. The tendrils are made of gilded, colorless glass. The bottle was made in the third century, probably in Cologne, Germany, an important city on the northern frontier of the Roman Empire and a great center of glassmaking.
Blok, W. Bastiaan, Source
Primary Description: 
Colorless, with gilded colorless, opaque white, and opaque light blue trails. Blown; applied. Bottle with pear-shaped body. Rim plain, with slightly irregular rounded lip; neck narrow, tapering and then expanding to merge with body; upper wall is straight and, below mid-point, curves down and in; base consists of hollow foot ring made by folding; pontil mark. Decorated on neck and wall. At narrowest part of neck, horizontal blue trail wound in two revolutions. On wall, continuous frieze with no upper border but lower border, near foot, consisting of horizontal white trail wound one and one-quarter times around body. Frieze contains four principal motifs: ivy leaves shown in outline with long, curving stalks; two blue motifs alternate with two white ones. All outlines are notched. Between tips of each pair of leaves and above each stalk, one small gilded colorless tendril consisting of two opposed spirals emerging from short stem.
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2007 (2008) illustrated, p. 8; BIB# AI90242
The Gather (2007) illustrated, p. 11, bottom left;